Rallying call to Kendal residents to fight relocation of vascular health services

KENDAL residents have been urged to attend Monday night's town council meeting to protest at plans to relocate vascular health services.

It will be attended by NHS Lancashire bosses, who want to move such provision from the Royal Lancaster Infirmary to centres in Preston, Blackburn and Carlisle.

But opponents are campaigning against the plan and the topic will be high on the agenda when Kendal Town Council meets next week.

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron and town councillor Matthew Severn have encouraged residents to attend.

NHS managers behind the proposals will hold one of their final consultations at the meeting - which starts at 7.30pm at the town hall - but they will not take questions from the public.

However, Mr Farron and Coun Severn hope a large public attendance will show the decision-makers the strength of opposition to the plans.

Mr Farron said that the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust was using internal NHS resolution procedures to try and overturn the decision and that they had previously threatened the use of legal action to block the move if necessary.

Mr Farron added: “The plans to remove all vascular surgery from Morecambe Bay is extremely concerning and I am very worried about the risk this might pose to people across the south of Cumbria.

“With at least 50 per cent of all vascular surgery being for urgent and emergency conditions, ensuring short journey times could be the difference between a surgeon being able to save a patient’s limbs or even their lives.

“By removing services from Lancaster, the Cumbria and North Lancashire NHS trusts would be putting the lives of those who live in more isolated communities, or in difficult geographical locations, in unnecessary jeopardy.

“It is absolutely vital that we do all we can to protect our vascular services at Morecambe Bay and I will be doing everything I can to fight these plans.”

Coun Severn added: “If these flawed proposals go through there will be bad repercussions for health care in our area.

“It’s really important that people come along to support their town council in holding the decision-makers to account and maybe changing their minds.”

Meanwhile, South Lakeland district councillor Heidi Halliday has set up an e-petition on the Government website - at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/38468

She said: “My brother Jonathan passed away in 2008. He was awaiting a combined pancreas and kidney transplant due to complications arising from having insulin-dependent diabetes over many years.

“I know how important vascular services are, as they played a big part in my brother's life during his years of dialysis and treatment.

“This is why I am so passionate about keeping these services as local as possible.”

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